Jessica is the Fundraising manager at IRT, and shares why she chose to join IRT and support overseas refugees:
That’s what my mother would bark at me as a child when I refused to finish my dinner! “Well why don’t you put my dinner in an envelope, and send it to them then”, a cheeky adolescent Jess would reply.
In hindsight, I’m not sure how an envelope with my leftover sausage, potato waffles and beans, would help a starving child in Africa. The beans would leak everywhere, and I imagine the food would rot somewhat during transit, so in fact, would probably do the starving children more bad than good!
80’s kids dinner
Fast forward 35 years, and I finally realise the point my mother was attempting to make. My mother is Spanish, and the most amazing cook (I would walk a million miles for her meatballs!). I know we all say that about our mum’s cooking, but she really is! She worked very hard, whilst bringing up three noisy, opinionated daughters, often fighting over whose turn it was to play ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ on the Casio keyboard. On occasions, when she only had 15 minutes to make the family meal, she would make the standard 80’s, kids’ dinner. My siblings and I were spoilt with delicious and nutritious meals so often, that I would turn my nose up at potato waffles. My mother is a charitable humanitarian at heart, so it must have been so frustrating and disappointing to see her daughters behave in such an ungrateful manner.
So why was she harping on about starving African children? She wanted me to appreciate the food in front of me. She wanted me to know that not all children around the world are fortunate enough to be presented with a delicious plate of food, three times a day. I’m not that precocious child anymore. I appreciate what I have now, and I want to help those less fortunate than myself.
Send your left over sausages to…
Sending your left-over sausages to the African children is not the answer. At IRT, we teach refugee families in Uganda how to support themselves, through our successful StepUp programme. We teach them farming techniques, so they can grow enough food to eat and sell. How to look after livestock. We dig boreholes to provide clean water. We teach families how important education is, and how important it is to keep their children healthy, not just for survival, but so they are fit enough to attend school every day and build a future for themselves.
Many girls are taken out of school at a very young age and married off to a 50-year-old man, or even warlords, in exchange for the ‘bride price’. The poverty is so extreme in some parts of Uganda, that refugees will resort to selling their daughters in order to feed the rest of the family. In fact 1 in 2 girls are married before the age of 18.
You can help them by donating. Your money will help to support these families, teaching them to grow, nurture, clean, teach, learn and survive. These refugees are regular people just like you and me, they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The only difference between them and us, is that we got lucky.
Read more about IRT’s successful StepUp programme in Uganda.